This past week, the Valley Air District and local Agricultural leaders hosted a Clean Agricultural Equipment Showcase demonstrating the air quality benefits of a state grant program designed to replace older high polluting equipment.
The Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions (FARMER) Program, administered by the California Air Resources Board and funded through local Air Districts, expedites the turnover of high emitting agricultural equipment, like tractors, harvesters, pumps and utility task vehicles for cleaner and zero emission equipment. Investments through this program have the benefit of supporting farmers in the move to clean, low carbon technologies and practices, and providing for immediate community health and air quality benefits across the San Joaquin Valley.
“This is one of the District’s most cost-effective programs, reducing emissions throughout the Valley while helping some of our smallest farmers transition to cleaner equipment,” stated Samir Sheikh, Executive Director/Air Pollution Control Officer of the Valley Air District. “We appreciate the state’s support of great programs like this one, and hope for continued investments in these programs in this year’s budget.”
Since 2017, investments through the FARMER program matched with investments from Valley growers have resulted in the reduction of 185,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and 22,210 tons of harmful air pollutants such as particulate matter and nitrous oxide. Reducing these pollutants expedites the delivery of cleaner air in the San Joaquin Valley where residents experience some of the highest adult and childhood asthma rates.
FARMER is one of the most cost effective and timely ways in which the state can advance collective air quality and climate goals—improving air quality, lessening adverse health impacts, while advancing carbon neutrality. Realizing the vision of a more equitable and healthy future requires follow through with targeted and strategic investments that leave no one behind.
In addition to the FARMER and local programs, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) provides a wide suite of programs aimed at supporting agricultural transition to sustainable practices. Through this combined local, state, and federal partnership, the San Joaquin Valley has served as the national leader in the deployment of clean air technologies and practices.
The Valley Air District covers eight counties including San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera, Fresno, Kings, Tulare and San Joaquin Valley air basin portions of Kern. For additional information about the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, visit www.valleyair.org or call 559-230-6000.